2010 Mar 31 Being Black in China
Here’s one from our friends down in Shanghai, ruminating on what it’s like to be black in China. The storm raised by the appearance of Lou Jing - whose father was a black American - on the Let’s Go! Oriental Angels television show last year revealed a nasty strain of racism in China, but if “Leo” in Shanghai is to be believed, being black here is actually pretty cool.
According to his post, Leo is a Black American in his 20’s from Washington DC who has lived in several cities in China off and on since 2006. The funniest part of the blog involves a series of questions Leo has been asked while in China, followed by his mental response, and then what he actually said. Here’s a sample:
Can you slam dunk?
Mental response: Wow! You just completely skipped the part about me liking basketball or any other sport for that matter. Assumed me to be athletic and based on my physical appearance alone credited me with not only the skill set to play basketball well, but the sheer ability to at 5’11 jump high enough to slam a basketball. Wow that was racist!
Actual response: Not anymore.
So… is it true? Do you have a big penis?
Mental response: WTF?! Dude, I don’t even know you! What the hell happened to hello? How are you just going to walk up to me on the street, obviously drunk, and ask me some profane shit like that? Of course I do!
Actual response: Define big.
You like hip-hop/rap/and or 50 cent!?
Mental response: WHAT?! Just because I’m black you think I like hip-hop music? How narrow minded of you! The world is made up of all types of people from many different places, and we are all different! Just because I am a black American does not mean you can pigeonhole me into a predetermined little box of stereotypes! I enjoy all types of music! People like you make me sick! (Spit at the ground in disgust)
Actual response: Hell yeah I love rap, you heard the new Devin the Dude CD?
Despite the questions and stares, Leo concludes life in Shanghai is actually pretty good: “The lifestyle we have here makes me think that I wasted time in America and wonder why I didn’t come out here years ago… Here in China you have no reason to fear the police, most if not everyone you meet is respectful… Surviving here also depends on your approach and attitude. I would sum up my experience here by saying living in another country requires great patience and understanding no matter what color you are or where you are from. How receptive you are to other people and their culture and a lot of times their ignorance to your particular situation are key factors. Your attitude can and will determine whether or not you enjoy your life, and that’s true if you never leave the house you grew up in.”
Here are some other posts offering other perspectives on the same topic: